TORONTO — Like he’s done all month, Edwin Encarnacion did his part to put the Toronto offence in position for a victory.
It was the defence that came up short Thursday night and it proved costly in an 8-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
With two outs in the ninth inning, Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes had a chance to seal the win on a routine ground ball. However, his throw was low and pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson came around from second base to tie the game.
The Royals scored two more runs in the 10th inning to end Toronto’s season-high nine-game winning streak.
“There’s no excuse,” Reyes said. “I should make a better throw there. That’s a routine ground ball, I got it perfect. I just didn’t have enough on the throw.”
Omar Infante drove in a pair of runs off Toronto reliever Todd Redmond (0-4) in the 10th inning as Kansas City (25-28) ended its four-game losing skid. Greg Holland got the last three outs for his 15th save.
“Well you don’t expect to lose one like that,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “But you know what, we’ve been playing some good baseball. The key is just to come back out and play a good clean game tomorrow.”
Encarnacion continued his phenomenal play this month by launching two no-doubt homers to give him 18 on the season and a team record 16 for the month.
“To watch what he’s been doing this month, I don’t know where it goes down in history but it’s pretty historic in my mind anyway,” Gibbons said.
Jose Bautista also homered for the Blue Jays, who had their seven-game home winning streak come to an end.
Encarnacion is now one away from tying Barry Bonds’ major-league record for most homers in the month of May. Bonds hit 17 with San Francisco in May 2001. The Toronto slugger also has five multi-homer games this month, which ties the major-league record for any month currently shared by Albert Belle (September 1995) and Harmon Killebrew (May 1959).
Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey pitched to two batters in the sixth inning before being pulled. He said the team will focus on its positive play over the last few weeks.
“Jose makes that play 99 out of 100 times, it was just a real fluke thing,” Dickey said. “But we can’t second-guess things the way that we’ve been playing and the way we’ve been pitching and hitting. I mean, Edwin — what can you say?
“I mean it’s been fun to watch and to be on a team where so many things are going well and I think it’ll continue tomorrow. I think this was just kind of a mild hiccup.”
The American League East-leading Blue Jays fell to 32-23 with the loss.
Kansas City starter James Shields worked seven innings and reliever Wade Davis (4-1) pitched two innings for the win. The Royals left 11 batters on base but outhit Toronto 14-9.
“I was really pleased with the way we swung the bats tonight,” said manager Ned Yost. “We were driving balls. We just had some great at-bats.”
Salvador Perez hit his fifth homer of the season for the Royals in the second inning and Kansas City added three runs in the fifth. The Royals also loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh inning but Aaron Loup got out of the jam by striking out Alcides Escobar on three pitches.
Closer Casey Janssen, who was looking to pick up his ninth save, recorded the first two outs in the ninth before Alex Gordon’s single. He was replaced by Dyson, who stole second.
“We were facing a hot team that had swept their last three teams,” Dyson said. “I thought we did a great job to come over here and kind of break that up a little bit and get going.”
In the 10th, Redmond gave up a single to Escobar to open the inning and Pedro Ciriaco reached when he was beaned while squaring up to bunt.